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Mayor Hopefuls Multiply

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2007-02-06


Candidate filing season is officially underway. As expected, two Republican Party mayoral hopefuls filed their running papers on opening day, January 24, 2007. Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters and local architect Matt Kelty were among the early birds.

Actually, Kelty, President of Kelty Tappy Design, Inc., a commercial architectural and urban design firm located in downtown Fort Wayne, was the first to file – a fact he was quick to report in both a campaign news release and on his campaign web site (www.mattkelty.com) immediately after putting pen to filing papers. Later that day, Kelty hit the streets. He did a precinct walk knocking on doors, shaking hands and talking to the media.

“I love Fort Wayne and today marks an important milestone in presenting a compelling vision to the families of this great city. I look forward to this robust, positive and issues-oriented campaign,” Kelty’s news released quoted him saying. “Over the next sixteen weeks we will win the hearts and minds of Republicans by demonstrating the power and popularity of true conservatism. But more than that, at a time when many in my party have seemingly forgotten the principles that abolished slavery, defeated communism and championed the family, Fort Wayne will know that this elephant hasn’t forgotten.”

However, Kelty and Peters won’t be the only mayoral candidates in the May primary ballot. Ivan Hood and Wilbert Brown are also running for mayor under the GOP banner. Hood is a 19-year-old small businessman who runs a retail kiosk at Glenbrook Square. Brown, 34, owns Brown Financial Services, a Fort Wayne-based consulting firm.

As of press time, the Allen County Democratic Party was still struggling to find a big-name candidate for mayor. However, at least one person has filed to run as a Democrat. Frederick Steinke is the first to file for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Fort Wayne. Apparently Steinke did not notify the party that he would be running, which left Allen County Democratic Chair Kevin Knuth scratching his head when asked about Steinke. However, Steinke is far from a complete unknown. Diagnosed with HIV in 1982, Steinke has been a vigorous advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and education. He is featured in photographer John Gevers’ “Facing HIV/AIDS” photo/essay exhibit that has toured the country over the last few years. Steinke is a past board member and volunteer for the local AIDS Task Force and has served as the District 3 Representative to the Indiana Statewide HIV Consumer Advisory Board among other civic roles. What would he like to do as mayor? Eliminate City Council for one thing. In a news release, Steinke suggested that major issues could be put to a public referendum rather than be decided by a city council.

February 23, 2007 is the deadline for candidates to file.

SHOW DEMS THE MONEY
It always seems easy to count somebody else’s money, but Democratic Party insiders estimate Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard’s campaign war chest at well into the six-figures. And since Mayor Richard decided against seeking another term, the question is: what is he going to do with all that money? Early speculation was that he would use a big chunk of that cash to back U.S. Senator Evan Bayh’s (D-Indiana) presidential run. However, in the face of stiff competition like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, Bayh took himself out of presidential contention. So, the question remains: what is Richard’s likely to do with his campaign stash?

According to campaign finance reports, so far the one thing Mayor Richard hasn’t done is dump huge sums of money into the campaigns of any of the Democrats running for re-election to the Fort Wayne City Council, whose support he will undoubtedly need for his Harrison Square downtown revitalization project.

NO CHECKOUT POLICY?
Former State Representative Mitch Harper is one of the region’s premiere bloggers. His site, fortwayneobserved.com, is a must-read for a growing number of locals thanks to his extraordinary efforts to provide news, commentary, photos and even audio. However, a major news story conspicuously absent from his news blog is the re-dedication of downtown’s main branch of the Allen County Public Library. Not a word. Not a photo. It’s no surprise, however. Harper was a vocal opponent of the $84-million price-tag to revamp ACPL’s various branches. Harper said that while he was a big fan of libraries, he and others felt the price was too high and the scope of the project too grand. His Taxpayers Research Association tried, but failed, to gather enough signatures to stop the plan. On January 27, the downtown library opened to huge fanfare and crowds of patrons, but apparently no coverage by Fort Wayne Observed.

Harper, a Republican who served in the Indiana State House of Representatives from 1978 until 1990 is rumored to be considering a run for the 4th district Fort Wayne City Council seat currently held by Dr. Tom Hayhurst, who decided against running for re-election.

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